“We have survived the pandemic. We have survived the deadly dengue outbreak. We have survived the volcanic eruption – I tell you: we can do anything. We are overcomers.
“And while we await our results, I hope you are already proud of overcoming all of these challenges. Please remember: your worth or intelligence is not determined by your position in the CPEA.
“Once you’ve done your best, be proud, and continue to strive for excellence in the new chapter of your lives!”
So proclaimed Richard Patrick James as he virtually delivered the valedictorian address to his graduating class of 2021.
Young James rose to national acclaim having tied for this year’s top CPEA performer’s spot with Georgetown Primary School’s Isaiah Danville Jr. Toney.
They both netted 96.8% and as such secured the highest average scores on the standardized series of tests.
James also topped out the highest national scores in CPEA mathematics at 98.67%.
Getting to that point may have been wrought with unique challenges as highlighted in James’ valedictorian speech. As far as his parents were concerned, guiding Richard’s primary school career without pressuring him to maintain a specific grade point average was a major part of their game plan.
“We’ve never placed any pressure for a particular position on him. Well I’m a teacher and I’ve seen where sometimes, unfortunately, parents – sometimes to the detriment of the child’s performance – they make this sort of: ‘you have to come between this and this!’
“There’s a difference between setting goals and saying you should aspire to do your best – we did not put that on him.
“Richard has always been an excellent student; yes, he’s been performing for most of his primary school life at the top, but we still never say to him ‘you must come first.’ If his best is first, great!
“Going into the exam I said to him: ‘are you able to come first? Sure! Do you have to? No. It’s not a requirement. Your position of being first doesn’t determine if we’re proud of you’,” Sylvia James, Richard’s mom, shared with Asbert News Network.
She described her only child as a “diligent worker” and an “independent learner” whose work ethic made it “fairly easy to work with him” especially since as she also had a class of exit students to prepare for external examinations alongside Richard.
“We did a lot of practicing so sometimes I would take his notebooks with notes and create practice tests which allowed him to work on his own while I focused on my preparation for my classes,” Mrs. James further noted.
Richard has professed his love for culinary artistry and has even declared he wants to be a professional chef.
His potential career choice is readily supported by both parents who’ve already began to taste test his breakfast dishes.
“Success is not limited to a specific career field. If we look at how the world is today and if you term success as wealth, it’s not only attained through the traditional professions like a doctor or a lawyer.
“In my earlier teaching career, I taught boys and I would always say to them: ‘learn a skill. The value of learning a skill cannot be underestimated.’
“And there is much success in skills so if as he grows older, he still has that passion and wants to do that, we will encourage him.”
Mrs. James echoed a sentiment that resonated from Richard’s speech as she sought to remind “parents, teachers – the wider society … it’s about your child doing their best and once they do their best be proud.
“So, you are not competing with another child. You are only seeking to do your best.”
Rohan James, the resident administrator at Trinity Medical Sciences University and Richard’s father noted his pleasure in his son’s latest academic achievements.
“For him to achieve this I can’t say I am surprised, but I am very pleased. It was not the focus for him to place first or anything. It was always his focus and our focus for him to do his best. So, I’m quite pleased. I’m quite pleased and quite proud. A father couldn’t be prouder.”
JP Schwmon #SituationUpdates